On rhythm tracks, practice is one of the most important sessions of the weekend for fantasy players. At Dover International Speedway, that is particularly true since both practice and the race will be run in daylight conditions.
On Saturday, drivers abandoned the lower groove and moved up the track to find extra grip, and while this worked fine when no one was battling for position, race conditions could be more challenging. During the race, an impatient or intrepid driver will attempt to dive-bomb the competition and sparks will fly, but that is part of what makes handicapping a NASCAR race challenging.
Players who were concerned about Jimmie Johnson’s 24th-place effort in time trials can rest easier now that practice is complete. He showed speed both over long runs with the best 10-lap average in the early session and posted the fourth-fastest single lap in final practice. NASCAR Fantasy Live awards points for pass differential, and a top-five finish for the No. 48 will make Johnson one of the top points' earners.
In the past 10 weeks, Maritn Truex Jr. has had his share of ups and downs, but he has only scored back-to-back top-10s once. That has kept his salary cap relatively low, with an increase of only .75 cents since the Auto Club 400, and it makes him one of the best values in the game at $25.25. He is worth starting after posting the second-best 10-lap average in final practice, however, and he is not likely to be on many rosters since he tends to fly under the radar.
Mark Martin has become one of the dominant drivers in qualification with top-10 starts in more than half of his attempts this season. He rolls off the grid sixth for the FedEx 400 benefiting Autism Speaks, but he may have a difficult time in maintaining that position.
Among 19 drivers who logged at least 10 consecutive laps in final practice, he had the third-slowest time, which was more than two mph off the pace set by Kasey Kahne. If he does not find speed overnight, it will not take long to get lapped on this one-mile oval, even with his excellent starting spot.
Ryan Newman is another driver who did not have a particularly strong final practice. He posted only the 26th-fastest single lap in that session and was ranked 14th on the 10-lap average chart. He will start the race one position ahead of Martin, but if these drivers lose very many positions in terms of place differential, they might wind up with negative points.
Related: Practice results
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